Variant heron

May 16, 2018  •  1 Comment

All Great Blue Herons may be great... in the sense of large... but not every GBH is actually blue, or, closer to reality, blue-gray. Case in point: this exquisite white bird, which I spotted in the salt marsh at the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge this foggy and threatening afternoon, was once considered to be its own species. But recently, the DNA patrol discovered that the Great White Heron is simply a colorless variant on the GBH theme. There are, to be sure, other all-white egret species around our shores, but this isn't one of them. It's bigger, the bill is stouter, and the legs are too light for assigning into egret-hood. Whatever you call it, the bird is a stunner... and, I hope, an expert angler.


Imagine our surprise when canal-boating in England to see a great blue take off ahead of us. Are they like sea gulls and present universally?
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